The invention comprises a method of forming a multi-element, thin hot film sensor on a polyimide film. The sensor is formed by first cleaning one surface of the polyimide. Then, under a continuous vacuum, the surface is simultaneously cleaned by ion bombardment while nickel is deposited by evaporation. The ion beam cleaning is discontinued and copper is then deposited to an initial thickness by evaporation without a break in the vacuum. The vacuum is then removed and a final thickness of copper is deposited by plating. Sensor patterns are then defined in the nickel and copper layers using conventional photolithography and etching techniques.